As we dive deeper into Web-to-Print, we are learning a lot along the way. The first thing I’ve learned is that there are a lot of “Experts” out there (the salespeople & technicians who help us behind the scenes) that can talk a lot about the benefits of Web-to-Print, but when it comes down to actually understanding the fine details and making it work, there’s a lot to be desired. In a lot of ways we are self taught because it is such a developing market.

Since Web-to-Print is a rather generic term, I’m going to talk about what it means in our world. Oregon’s Web-to-Print is an Internet store front for customers that order the same “products” that they tend to use a lot. Sometimes there are certain areas of these “products” that need to change, like names, titles & emails on business cards, but in many cases, the same products will be ordered again and again. That’s the real beauty here is that in these 2 cases, it takes a routine process and automates it. That’s where the accuracy and cost savings come from.

So, let’s describe a customer that uses our Web-to-Print system regularly and is what I would call a success story. This customer has facilities around Ohio (7 to be exact), so they all need supplies (Letterheads, 6 different envelopes, business cards + more) that are consistent with their brand, but have variable information for their specific location.

Otterbein StorefrontThis customer will log into their catalog with their user name and password and then pull up their online catalog for the division they want to order for. On their business cards product, after naming the order and choosing the qty they want (price for each qty is listed) they will have an area to type in their variable information and then see a live proof. If it is OK, they press OK and the order automatically comes to us with the same print file they approved. This eliminates the going back and forth with proofs that sometimes can take days.

The ame thing applies with all of their other products some of which have no information that changes between locations. We call those products static. The great thing is we get an approved print file in PDF form right from the system, and the order is written up with pre-defined information. These 2 things alone eliminate so many mistakes and save so much time that this customer never wants tpo go anywhere else.

We have another customer that uses this system just to order forms on demand, so that they don’t have to inventory them there. This customer sets a good example of mixing Print-on-Demand and Web-to-Print technologies to reduce inventories and costs (see inventory reduction stratigies for more on this), which is very much what more people are doing. But going back to what I had originally said, we put a lot of work into figuring out how to apply this technology to different customers. And the great thing is that with every new customer we put onto the system, we can custom build a solution for them while automating more of the process.